Evan Dando in Brazil: I’ll do it anyway
“Forever old rockers never die they just end up painting and narrating forensic file type shows“. The phrase spoken by Evan Dando in his exclusive interview with Rock Cabeça came back to me during the two solo shows at Sesc Avenida Paulista in São Paulo last week. Because, after meeting him in person, I was sure that, even if he approaches the end of his career, he would never do some sorta thing as a reality show. I mean, his life is already a reality show that I’ve been watching since I was 15 and in which I had, let’s say, the privilege of slightly participating in this intense weekend in which the thermal sensation of São Paulo was pretty much like a dry sauna.
Yes, I will tell you about the set list and the performance, but first of all, I have to say that, in relation to Evan and the Lemonheads universe, I have long since lost journalistic impartiality (if you haven’t noticed yet). So, if you arrived here to find gossip, intimacies or any type of information that comes to confirm everything that the big (and lazy) media apparently didn’t get tired of talking about Evan, I’m afraid you’ve wasted your time. I will also avoid at all costs becoming one of the many admirers in order to reap the benefits of supposed proximity to a rock star in front of third parties, although Evan’s generosity makes this a very difficult mission.
Just as I really like your mother, my confidant friend Susan, who I am not embarrassed to say replaces my late maternal grandmother Vera Pinheiro – not in terms of age, of course, but availability, tenderness and wisdom – I have Evan and, why not, also Antonia, in my reserved quota of friends. People (see, I said people) that I respect and for whom my appreciation is huge, and much greater than the Lemonheads and their records on my shelves. Furthermore, I apologize in advance to each of them if my Taurus intuition leads me down some forbidden or simply wrong path.
In a long time (and I go to a lot of shows) I haven’t seen an artist, especially connected to the mainstream, give himself so much for the simple pleasure of playing for an audience. At this point, Evan is almost indomitable: when he’s on stage, armed with a guitar and lulled by his sweetest memories in music format, it’s as if he’s been reborn. I kept thinking that if I were to parachute onto Sesc’s intimate stage without having any idea who Evan Dando was, I would understand that I was in front of Ziggy Stardust. Or Gene Simmons. Evan Griffith Dando is the characterization of himself in front of an audience, but as immense – and intense (a word you’ll read far too often around here) as Phil Lynnot, romantic as Whitney Houston on the irresistible “How Will I Know”. Finally, playful like Simon & Garfunkel, emulating the duo’s cheesy little dance in what I considered Evan’s courtesy to the Brazilian audience.
The set list for both nights included the usual classics: “It’s a shame about Ray”, “Come on Feel” and surprisingly “Car Button Cloth”, which I consider the most underrated of his career. There was also something from the “Varshons”, highlights from his solo album “Baby I’m bored” and, most of all, covers that made us run to Google to identify the author. A good part of it was from songs that formed him musically, like Cheap Trick – “She’s a Whore” (one that was so beautiful in his performance that I would humbly suggest it for a later studio recording). With the game won by the number of classics lined up and the very short time, Evan preferred not to delve into unknown songs (or b-sides), but if he did, probably no one would complain, least of all me, who always waited for a live version of “ I’ll do it anyway”, my favorite t(rack).
But it wasn’t just that. The SESC event had two “featurings” that ended up shedding light on Evan’s new phase. On the first night, Tex, son of guitarist Chico Teixeira, took the stage to contribute with voice and guitar on the technically difficult “It’s a shame about Ray” and, guess what, “Mrs. Robinson”. Tex’s youth and grit ended up re-signifying the “teenage angst” that was so unique in the Lemonheads’ work. On the second night, his father, Chico Teixeira, would also take the stage, with versions of legend Renato Teixeira’s songbook, such as “Romaria”, which moved all the unsuspecting young people present there, including Evan, who “gave up” to accompany him in the face of so much magnitude and sat down next to us to enjoy the moment. Later I would tell Evan in his dressing room that this encounter would be the headline of the night. In which he agreed: “it already is”.
The post shows
That’s what everyone usually asks me – and I make a “mea culpa” because I also usually ask: what is Evan Dando like in person?
And today I will say that he is a guy who makes an effort. He strives to be kind, to be healthy, to be clean, to be a good entertainer, even though his devious mind and habits keep getting in his way. And here, I wish I had a big discovery to tell (or keep it a secret), but the truth is, Evan is a strong person. Strong hug. A lot of energy. New teeth that he makes a point of showing off. Small eyes that can see not only you, but your essence. Evan doesn’t care about the shell, he goes straight to the core of those around him, maybe that’s why he goes from one extreme to the other, with occasional explosions. He sees the good, but also the bad. With him, it’s never something superficial, everything is intense and passionate, considering that he gives you qualities that you didn’t even think you had, such as the “heart of gold” that he accused me of having via “chat” and that moved me so much.
Evan doesn’t want to live in the painful past. He wants movement. Distance from what is bad for him, greater certainty of what is good. He’s learning portuguese (I thought we were talking in english, but he was speaking portuguese all the way through when we first met). Today, in addition to the company of Antonia, who had her full name tattooed on his arm, Evan has her family, an affectionate family united by loss and joy, in which Evan literally flies seeking the completeness of his own losses. “It’s like that, crazy, but good people” Dylan, Antonia’s kid, tells me about living with Evan in Serra da Cantareira. I, who am also a broken guy who never got over my parents’ divorce, could, for a few minutes, as a kind of impostor, feel the relief that Evan felt at being close to a family that, in addition to really loving each other, welcomes well without seeing who.
Be an international rock star. Be a journalist who crashed the reality show that changed his life. Everyone is the same for them.
I’ve been looking for Evan for most of my life.
I ended up finding myself. It’s a shame about “Marcus”.
Finally, it is worth noting that this adventure returns on the 19th, when Evan joins (this time officially) with the Twinpines for a show at Fabrique in São Paulo.
Opening by the band Plazma, by the great Lirinha Morini. Unmissable.